Does the mainstream media possess a bias in favor of President Obama and the Democrats? Yes.
For years it went largely unnoticed, mainly because of the lack of opposing viewpoints and a smaller amount of outlets. People had become accustomed to seeing a singular viewpoint on television. With the lift of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and the boom of Internet and cable news outlets in the late 1990s, people began to see a wider range of opinions.
Or do they? While it is true that conservatives dominate talk radio, network and cable news outlets are a different story. Liberals are constantly complaining about an alleged bias in favor of conservatives coming from Fox News. But are the facts on their side? No.
During the coverage of the 2012 presidential season and the GOP primaries, the coverage has undoubtedly been slanted to the left on a number of stations.
MSNBC, HLN, CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC news all seem to carry a slightly more liberal tone, to say the least. The sad part is that it seems to come from their anchors as well as their commentators. A commentator can say whatever they want, that’s their job, to provide opinion-laced commentary on current events. An anchor, on the other hand, is supposed to report the news with an unbiased opinion. At least, that’s how it is supposed to be.
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. Fox News has four commentary shows. The Five, which features five talking heads discussing popular topics, features conservatives, liberals, and libertarians. Bill O’Reilly is an independent. While a strong social conservative, he believes strongly in liberal issues like global warming and limiting carbon emissions. Sean Hannity? Conservative. Greta Van Susteren rarely gives her opinion, and mostly keeps her show limited to interviews and breaking news.
During the other 14-15 hours of non-repeating broadcast hours each day, Fox is filled with anchors that shy away from giving their opinion. Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, Jenna Lee, John Scott, Shannon Bream, Carl Cameron, and others report on the news, displaying the facts and moderating debates between liberals and conservatives.
Wallace is a tough interviewer on everyone. Megyn Kelly gives her opinion, but typically on legal issues. Bret Baier got in hot water with the Romney campaign for a line of particularly tough questioning during an interview, something not likely to happen had he been in the tank for Romney and the GOP. Fox may have a few commentators who ruffle liberal feathers, but not nearly as much as other stations do.
Consider MSNBC alone. Chris Matthews, Al Sharpton, Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, and Ed Schultz are the network's prime time commentator shows, all of which have a very liberal tone. Whether it is on television or in the newspapers, liberals still outnumber conservatives.
So far during the 2012 GOP primary, anchors on certain networks have hammered the GOP candidates while repeatedly putting up softball stories on Obama. This past week, former Pennsylvania Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum blew up at New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny after being asked about comments he made about his competitor Governor Mitt Romney. Zeleny's question to Santorum was much tougher than the type he had asked Obama in the past. (Zeleny had famously asked Obama what the most ‘enchanting’ part of being president was.)
On Meet The Press, host David Gregory repeatedly parrots talking points put out by the Obama administration, and in February was called out on it by former speaker Newt Gingrich.
Several outlets have repeatedly broadcast a selectively edited video of Governor Romney. The entire clip from a 2008 presidential debate shows Romney stating he would not be in favor of a federal mandate on healthcare. The clip the DNC put out was edited to make it look as if Romney had stated otherwise.
CNN’s Joe Johns and Gloria Borger were shown to repeatedly bring up stories of how Governor Romney’s wealth was destructive to his campaign, and how voters were increasingly turned off by it. The same stories were shown on NBC. Newsbuster’s later showed how the stories came out of the DNC and their Super PACs.
There was the time this past week that CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin gleefully stated the he was “not exactly famous for his hatred of the Obama administration.” This was during a broadcast covering the Supreme Court's hearings on Obamacare. News networks know full well that any negative coverage about Obamacare getting pounded in the court could potentially harm Obama in an election year. Thankfully for him, some networks barely touched on it at all.
The GOP candidates have been repeatedly been lambasted by liberal leaning news networks. These same networks also give voice to the most radical critics, further skewering the public perception. But never fear; one day we hope they will cover more than Obama sharing a Chili recipe on Pintrest. Hard hitting journalism at it’s finest!
The majority of the mainstream media did not vet President Obama in 2008, and they are not doing so now. They pounded his opponent Hillary Clinton into the ground, while not reporting about any of the radical associations Obama held, such as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, or former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers.
When someone does try to talk about these associations, news anchors like CNN’s Soledad O’Brien resort to having mini-meltdowns live on the air.
Just because one cable news network provides a more balanced view does not mean that media bias is a thing of the past. When it comes to more than a half dozen television news outlets, Santorum will be painted as the Salem Witch hunter, Romney will be the Rich Mormon, and Gingrich will forever be the adulterer. Obama will have their support.